Vegan Meal Planning Adventures
“You know, Keri, adding the word “adventures” to something doesn’t actually make it more exciting…” I know, but meal planning is exciting! Imagine never coming home after a long day and wondering, “What the heck am I going to make?”, never searching the pantry to put together an adequate meal in your already exhausted mind, and never starting a recipe only to realize you’re missing half the ingredients you originally thought you had. That’s what I would imagine every time I’d read one of the many posts about meal planning on my favorite blogs. I’m sure if you’ve written a planning post, I’ve commented on it saying I need to start planning. By the time Jess posted about meal planning on her blog, The Domestic Vegan, it was time for me to shut up and actually try it! Cute things tend to motivate me, so I asked my husband to make me a nice, simple I Eat Trees meal planner. While I was still excited over my awesome I Eat Trees meal planners, I printed one off, grabbed a couple cookbooks from my desk, and sat down at my dining room table to get started.
First, I wrote in breakfasts. The little man eats variations of the same thing every week day, and since he literally wakes up talking about eating a banana for breakfast, who am I to deprive him of that? On weekends, I spend a little bit more time in the kitchen, including nice family breakfast treats such as cinnamon rolls or muffins, so I picked out Saturday and Sunday’s recipes and wrote those in with a title, cookbook, and page number. Next I started planning individual days, choosing a meal for dinner and then a lunch that was quicker and dissimilar. And since both my husband and my little man are huge snack fanatics, I was sure to write in those little extras under my snacks section. Once I had everything “planned” in neat little squares, I went through the recipes and made a shopping list of all the items I needed. Let’s just say it was a long list.
So far, I’ve really been loving meal planning. It’s so nice to just “know” what’s for dinner on any given night. I can’t say planning saved me any money on this first round; I somehow managed to spend way more than what I normally would on groceries, but I’m sure I’ll learn over time. When I make my list, I’ve already learned it’s very helpful to put in amounts I’m going to need, rather than just the item. I know that sounds very elementary, but I’ve always just written “mushrooms” on my list. Really? How many? It could be one cup or it could be five cups! Especially when I’m dealing with a whole week’s worth of ingredients, it’s hard to remember how much of an ingredient each recipe called for or if that ingredient is in more than one dish. I’m actually excited to start working on next week’s meal plan, and I know it will just get easier over time! I’ll post again in the future on my progress and lessons learned.
Do you meal plan? If so, do you think it saves you time and money? If not, is it something you’d consider or is it, “No way, I love eating what I want and when I want it”?